Feed aggregator

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Major win for Epic Games: Apple has 90 days to open up app store payments

ArsTechnica - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 9:02am
 Apple has 90 days to open up app store payments

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

On Friday, the Northern California judge handling the closely watched Epic Games v. Apple court case turned in a ruling that, in many ways, works out in Apple's favor—but with one massive, App Store-changing exception.

The ruling from US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers includes a single-page permanent injunction demanding that Apple open up payment options for any software sellers on the App Store. In other words, Epic Games' effort to add Epic-specific payment links inside the free-to-play game Fortnite, and thus duck out of paying Apple's 30 percent fee on in-app transactions, can now happen.

The injunction is aimed at Apple, not Epic, and tells the device and software manufacturer to no longer prevent developers from including their own direct-buy links within their apps. Apple also cannot prevent app-makers from communicating with customers via any method customers opt in to (i.e. an email newsletter) about purchasing options. Apple has 90 days from today, September 10, 2021, until this injunction becomes live and actionable.

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Ivermectin overdose death probed in NM: “I don’t want more people to die”

ArsTechnica - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 9:00am
A box and container of ivermectin.

Enlarge / A box and container of ivermectin. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

A person in New Mexico is suspected of dying from an overdose of ivermectin, a state official announced Thursday. A second person in the state is also in critical condition following use of the drug, which is an antiparasitic medication mainly used in veterinary medicine to deworm animals, such as cattle and horses.

If the death is confirmed to have been caused by ivermectin, it is believed to be New Mexico's first known fatal ivermectin overdose. The dewormer has recently seen a sharp rise in use—and poisonings from it—due to false claims that it can treat and prevent COVID-19.

There is no significant clinical data indicating that ivermectin can treat or prevent COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration—along with many other medical experts and the drug's maker, Merck—continue to strongly oppose ivermectin's use against COVID-19 and warn of serious side effects and life-threatening overdoses.

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SpaceX calls Amazon’s protest of Starlink plan an irrelevant “diatribe”

ArsTechnica - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 8:42am
Outside view of a warehouse with a large Amazon logo on the side of the building.

Enlarge / Amazon UK warehouse at Leeds Distribution Park on May 27, 2021, in Leeds, England. (credit: Getty Images | Nathan Stirk )

On Thursday, SpaceX called Amazon's latest protest against Starlink plans an irrelevant "diatribe" that should be ignored by the Federal Communications Commission.

"Another week, another objection from Amazon against a competitor, yet still no sign of progress on Amazon's own long-rumored satellite system," SpaceX told the FCC in a filing. "In its latest diatribe, Amazon spends over six of eight pages on matters wholly irrelevant to the current proceeding or even matters currently before the commission."

As we've reported, Amazon last month urged the FCC to reject SpaceX's proposal for a next-generation version of Starlink that could include up to 30,000 broadband satellites. Amazon claims that SpaceX violated a rule against incomplete and inconsistent applications by submitting plans for "two mutually exclusive configurations" with "very different orbital parameters."

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Google.com dark mode is rolling out to everyone

ArsTechnica - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 8:21am

It's finally happening: Google.com is getting a dark mode. What was once the domain of janky site-theming browser extensions can now be enabled right from the Google home page. An official post from the support forums says that dark mode in desktop Google Search is rolling out starting today and will reach every user "over the next few weeks."

Whether or not you have dark mode right now depends on your Google account. I have the new mode on two of my four Google accounts (don't ask), including both a personal account and a paid Google Workspace account. To enable the feature, head to the Google.com settings—on the home page, this page is linked in the bottom left, and on a search results page, it's under the gear button in the top right. On the settings page—if dark mode has made it to your account—you'll see a new "Appearance" section where you can turn on the style.

After turning on dark mode, you'll get a quick theme switcher in the gear button, allowing you to easily jump between dark and light modes. The dark setting seems to work on all the Google.com sections, like news, shopping, books, images, etc.

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Amazon fights high warehouse turnover with offer of free college tuition

ArsTechnica - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 5:26am
Adriana Ramirez packs items into envelopes at Amazon's Fulfillment Center on March 19, 2019, in Thornton, Colorado. The facility, which opened in July of 2018, is 855,000 square feet and employs over 1,500 people.

Enlarge / Adriana Ramirez packs items into envelopes at Amazon's Fulfillment Center on March 19, 2019, in Thornton, Colorado. The facility, which opened in July of 2018, is 855,000 square feet and employs over 1,500 people. (credit: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post)

As Amazon struggles to staff its warehouses, it’s joining other large employers by offering to pay for college tuition in an attempt to attract and retain hourly employees.

The e-commerce giant announced Thursday that it would be broadening its education benefits by offering more than 750,000 employees the opportunity to attend college or finish high school for free. Employees only have to work at the company for 90 days to be eligible, and if they leave, they do not have to reimburse Amazon for any tuition or fees paid during their time with the company.

Notably, it’s not a reimbursement program—Amazon is paying tuition and fees up front so employees don’t have to dip into savings to enroll. The company expects to roll out the new benefits in January. In addition to bachelor’s and associate’s degrees and GEDs, the program will cover English as a second language certifications. Amazon also announced skill training and apprenticeship programs for entry-level employees working in AWS and other IT positions. So long as an employee works for Amazon, they'll be able to use the benefit, potentially earning multiple degrees or certifications if they so choose.

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Rocket Report: Next Falcon Heavy launch date set, Soyuz 5 engines clear tests

ArsTechnica - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 4:00am
Photo of a Falcon Heavy rocket launch.

Enlarge / The Falcon Heavy rocket could launch again in one month. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann / Ars Technica)

Welcome to Edition 4.15 of the Rocket Report! This week, we have an update on the cause of the Alpha rocket launch failure and scads of news about medium-lift rockets. Also, for email subscribers, please accept our apologies for sending out an old edition of the newsletter.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Alpha rocket explodes due to engine-out. Firefly Aerospace's first launch of its Alpha rocket ended in failure when the rocket exploded 2.5 minutes after liftoff last Thursday, September 2. The video can be seen here. Two days after the launch, Firefly said the rocket failed when one of its first-stage engines shut down seconds after liftoff, SpaceNews reports. One of the four Reaver engines in the rocket's first stage, designated engine 2, shut down 15 seconds into the flight.

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Gran Turismo 7, Spider-Man 2, KOTOR remake lead PlayStation 5 showcase

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 6:25pm

Sony broke a months-long game of silence today with a wide-ranging PS5 showcase, announcing two new Marvel games from Insomniac, a remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and a March release date for Gran Turismo 7, among other news. This is the first significant update from the publisher since it opted to skip multiple major industry events throughout 2021. The industry behemoth is now offering first glimpses of several games in production from PlayStation Studios and third-party developers.

Leading the charge was news that a remake of BioWare's classic 2003 RPG Knights of the Old Republic—which many players consider the best Star Wars game ever made—is in development as a PS5 and PC exclusive, at least at launch. Though only the briefest clip of what looked like a Sith knight was shown, we already know this is a joint project between Lucasfilm, Sony, and Aspyr Media, a studio known for porting classic Star Wars games to modern hardware. Without a release date yet, we wonder whether BioWare's Old Republic MMO will still be in operation by the time this remake launches.

PlayStation Studios galore

Sony also had some first-party news to share with actual PS5-only releases. Insomniac is expanding its vision of the Marvelverse in Marvel's Spider-Man 2, due out 2023, and, unexpectedly, a new game starring Wolverine.

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Sex can relieve nasal congestion, and other work honored by 2021 Ig Nobels

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 3:00pm

Watch the 2021 Ig Nobel Prizes virtual ceremony, honoring "achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think."

Scientists are nothing if not endlessly curious, and sometimes that trait can lead them into unusual research directions. Maybe they find themselves exploring whether sex could be a natural alternative to nasal sprays for relieving nasal congestion, or maybe they'll end up taking the vitals of a rhinoceros while the animal is sedated and suspended from its feet for helicopter transport. Perhaps they might find surprising insights into how cats communicate or into the bacteriomes of discarded wads of chewing gum from different parts of the world. These and other unusual research topics were honored tonight in a virtual ceremony to announce the 2021 recipients of the annual Ig Nobel Prizes. You can watch the livestream of the awards ceremony above.

Established in 1991, the Ig Nobels are a good-natured parody of the Nobel Prizes that honors "achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think." The unapologetically campy award ceremony usually features miniature operas, scientific demos, and the 24/7 lectures whereby experts must explain their work twice: once in 24 seconds, and the second in just seven words. Acceptance speeches are limited to 60 seconds. And as the motto implies, the research being honored might seem ridiculous at first glance, but that doesn't mean it is devoid of scientific merit.

Viewers can tune in for the usual 24/7 lectures, as well as the premiere of a miniopera, A Bridge Between People, in which children try to mediate between argumentative adults by building actual tiny suspension bridges between them—in keeping with the evening's theme of engineering. Traditionally, the winners also give public talks in Boston the day after the awards ceremony, although the pandemic put a kibosh on that for the second year in a row. Instead, the winners' talks will once again be given as webcasts a few weeks from now.

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Infosec researchers say Apple’s bug-bounty program needs work

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 2:51pm
Cartoon worm in a cartoon apple.

Enlarge / If you don't maintain good relationships with bug reporters, you may not get to control the disclosure timeline. (credit: mhatzapa via Getty Images / Jim Salter)

The Washington Post reported earlier today that Apple's relationship with third-party security researchers could use some additional fine tuning. Specifically, Apple's "bug bounty" program—a way companies encourage ethical security researchers to find and responsibly disclose security problems with its products—appears less researcher-friendly and slower to pay than the industry standard.

The Post says it interviewed more than two dozen security researchers who contrasted Apple's bug bounty program with similar programs at competitors including Facebook, Microsoft, and Google. Those researchers allege serious communication issues and a general lack of trust between Apple and the infosec community its bounties are supposed to be enticing—"a bug bounty program where the house always wins," according to Luta Security CEO Katie Moussouris.

Poor communication and unpaid bounties

Software engineer Tian Zhang appears to be a perfect example of Moussouris' anecdote. In 2017, Zhang reported a major security flaw in HomeKit, Apple's home automation platform. Essentially, the flaw allowed anyone with an Apple Watch to take over any HomeKit-managed accessories physically near them—including smart locks, as well as security cameras and lights.

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Ray-Ban Stories: These are Facebook’s first mass-market smart glasses

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 2:39pm

As previously rumored, Facebook has partnered with EssilorLuxottica to produce Ray-Ban Stories, one of the first potentially viable attempts at mass-market smart glasses. They are similar in some ways to early iterations of Snapchat Spectacles but with a more stylish aesthetic that looks right in line with other Ray-Ban glasses.

The glasses have two front-facing cameras, each at 5 megapixels. Users can take a photo either with a touch gesture or with a "Hey Facebook" voice command. In order for people in the room to be able to tell that pictures or video are being taken, a white LED on the front of the frames will light up. Videos can be as long as 30 seconds.

Photos and videos taken with the glasses are sent to a new smartphone app called Facebook View, which offers essential editing and sharing capabilities. In addition to photo and video capture, the glasses allow you to take calls or listen to music and podcasts with built-in speakers and microphones.

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Our flexible processors can now use bendable RAM

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 2:30pm
Extreme close-up photograph of tweezers holding a flexible computer component.

Enlarge / Try doing that with your RAM. (credit: A.I. Khan and A. Daus.)

A few months ago, we brought news of a bendable CPU, termed Plastic ARM, that was built of amorphous silicon on a flexible substrate. The use cases for something like this are extremely low-powered devices that can be embedded in clothing or slapped on the surface of irregular objects, allowing them to have a small amount of autonomous computing. But to meet the low power requirements, a minimalist processor is not enough—all the components have to sip power as well. And that makes for a poor fit for traditional RAM technology, which needs power to maintain the state of the memory.

But a group from Stanford now has that covered. The researchers have built a form of flexible phase-change memory, which is closer in speed to normal RAM than flash memory but requires no power to maintain its state. And, while their work was initially focused on getting something that's flexible to work, the principles they uncovered during their work should apply to phase-change memory in general.

A change of phase

People have made flexible forms of memory before, including flash and ferroelectric RAM, and resistive RAM can be made from materials that are also bendable. But phase-change memory has myriad advantages. It works by connecting two electrodes via a material that can form crystalline and amorphous states, depending on how quickly it's cooled down after heating. These two states differ in how well they conduct electricity, allowing them to be distinguished.

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With COVID out of control, Biden unveils hefty vaccine mandates

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 2:09pm
An older man in a suit speaks from a podium.

Enlarge / US President Joe Biden speaks on workers' rights and labor unions in the East Room at the White House on September 8, 2021, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Kevin Dietsch)

President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a sweeping six-pronged plan to try to regain control over the COVID-19 pandemic, which is wildly raging once again in the US.

Biden will discuss the plan in remarks from the White House at 5 pm EDT.

The main focus of the president's "Path out of the Pandemic" plan is on reducing the number of unvaccinated people in the country. As such, the plan's most prominent elements are hefty vaccination requirements for millions of federal employees, health care workers, school employees, and even employees of private businesses.

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LA police ask people they stop for their Facebook and Twitter account info

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 1:09pm
Two Los Angeles Police Department officers walking through Union Station.

Enlarge / Los Angeles Police Department officers patrol Union Station on Wednesday, August 11, 2021. (credit: Getty Images | Irfan Khan)

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) instructs officers to collect social media account information and email addresses when they interview people they have detained, according to documents obtained by the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law.

The Brennan Center filed public records requests with LAPD and police departments from other major cities, finding among other things that "the LAPD instructs its officers to broadly collect social media account information from those they encounter in person using field interview (FI) card." The LAPD initially resisted making documents available but supplied over 6,000 pages after the Brennan Center sued the department.

One such document, a memo from then-LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in May 2015, said that "when completing a FI report, officers should ask for a person's social media and e-mail account information and include it in the 'Additional Info' box." That includes Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook profiles, the memo said.

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New Roomba promises “poopocalypse” horror stories are a thing of the past

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 11:12am

Robot vacuums are a great investment for a pet owner, since they give you a helper that can stay on top of all that dirt and pet hair. With a noisy motor and lots of scheduling options, people are often tempted to run the robot while they're away, but if you do that, you'd better be very confident in your pet's potty training. If you've never seen what happens when a robovac encounters Fido's little accident, consider yourself lucky.

iRobot is out to fix this robovac edge case with the new Roomba j7+ Robot Vacuum. It has a new "Genius 3.0" obstacle detection system, a new front camera, and some AI-powered software. And one of the obstacles it looks out for is poop.

If you've never heard of this "poop+Roomba" phenomenon, you definitely shouldn't ever Google it and click on the results that pop up, like this one or this or this. To save you some trauma, robo vacs have a lot of moving parts, like wheels and spinning brushes. This is great if you're driving over and picking up dry dirt, but if the robot encounters a soft mass of something that it can grind up, those spinning brushes quickly become paint rollers. Then the robot drives all over the house. It's bad.

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VR review: Space Pirate Trainer’s new “Arena” is massive, must-play (if you can)

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 10:45am
 Space Pirate Trainer’s new “Arena” is massive, must-play (if you can)

Enlarge (credit: I-Illusions)

If you already thought the average VR use case was too inconvenient, you are absolutely not the target market for Space Pirate Arena. Later today, this brand-new mode lands as a free update to the five-year-old VR hit Space Pirate Trainer (whose new name, Space Pirate Trainer DX, still only costs $15 and is a fine VR-action option even for the smallest, weakest VR rigs).

Like other popular VR games, Space Pirate Arena requires strapping into a face-covering headset, which is inconvenient enough. In good news, this game's wholly free new mode doesn't require any cables, PCs, or external sensors, owing to its exclusivity to the self-contained Oculus Quest platform. You are, in some ways, quite liberated as this brand of space pirate.

But Arena's playable convenience ends there, as the mode pushes Quest and Quest 2 headsets to their room-sensing limit: an exact 10 m x 10 m square (32.8 ft x 32.8 ft) in your VR lasering room of choice, not a centimeter (inch) less. This is because Space Pirate Arena is a fully blown laser tag facsimile, meant to resemble the real-life zap-a-rama that you might associate with '80s and '90s malls.

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Recycling symbol can’t appear on non-recyclable items, California bill says

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 10:32am
Discarded plastic bottles made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are bundled at a recycling center.

Enlarge / Discarded plastic bottles made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are bundled at a recycling center. (credit: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

The recycling symbol—those three arrows stamped on myriad plastic items—doesn’t mean what most people think it does, and a California bill wants to change that.

The California Legislature passed a bill yesterday that would ban companies from putting the recycling symbol on items that aren’t regularly recycled throughout the state. The bill is now awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, and if signed into law, it would end a labeling practice that has confused consumers for decades and created major headaches for the solid-waste industry.

The ubiquitous “chasing arrows” symbol wasn’t originally meant to appear on all plastics. Rather, it was designed by a college student for a contest in the early 1970s to symbolize paper recycling. The company that sponsored the contest released the symbol to the public domain. Confusion over the chasing arrows began in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when oil and plastic companies lobbied states to make resin identification codes—which included the arrows—mandatory on all plastic, even if it couldn’t be recycled easily.

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9,000 years ago, funerals in China involved a lot of beer

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 9:40am
9,000 years ago, funerals in China involved a lot of beer

Enlarge (credit: Wang et al. 2021)

At a 9,000-year-old burial site in China called Qiaotou, archaeologists recently unearthed a number of ceramic vessels. Some of the vessels were shaped like the long-necked, round-bellied bronze pots that people used for alcoholic drinks millennia later. And that made Dartmouth College anthropologist Jiajing Wang and his colleagues wonder whether these earlier clay versions might have once held beer, too.

Bits of the residue left inside eight of the 13 pots turned out to contain phytoliths (fossilized plant remains) from rice, tubers, and a plant called Job’s tears. Starch molecules in the residue showed signs of being heated and fermented. Wang and his colleagues also found yeast and mold, key ingredients in fermentation.

“Our results revealed that the pottery vessels were used to hold beer, in the most general sense—a fermented beverage made of rice, a grain called Job’s tears, and unidentified tubers,” said Wang. “This ancient beer, though, would not have been like the IPA that we have today. Instead, it was likely a slightly fermented and sweet beverage, which was probably cloudy in color.”

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2,064-piece Lego set recreates Super Mario 64 in miniature for $170

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 9:13am

Nintendo and the Lego group have been on a collaborative tear for the last couple of years, with releases including the interactive "Adventures with Mario" series for kids and a $230 replica NES set aimed directly at nostalgic adults with disposable income. The team's latest creation is another one for that latter group—today, the companies announced a $170 replica "? block" that opens up to reveal four miniature recreations of worlds from Super Mario 64.

The tiny size of each replica level means that some detail is lost, and the "microfigures" of characters like Mario, Peach, and Lakitu are all made out of just a handful of pieces. But despite that, everything in the set is instantly recognizable, from the chain chomp lying in wait on the Bob-omb Battlefield to the ski slopes of Cool, Cool Mountain to the Bowser sliding puzzle in Lethal Lava Land. Yoshi is even hiding on the top of Peach's Castle, waiting for you to find all 120 stars. The "? block" uses a clever hinge mechanism that makes it simple to pop the worlds out and tuck them back inside.

The 2,064-piece Mario 64 set is recommended for ages 18 and up and will be exclusive to Lego stores and Lego.com when it launches on October 1, 2021. Other retailers will get it sometime in 2022.

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Matrix: Resurrections trailer is sheer perfection, both fresh and familiar

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 8:11am

Those attending last month's CinemaCon in Las Vegas were treated to a sneak preview of the first trailer for The Matrix: Resurrections, the fourth installment in the hugely influential franchise that launched with the premiere of The Matrix in 1999. But the trailer was not released to the general public—until now. The Resurrections title is apt, since we do indeed seem to be going back to the beginning: an alternate version of that simulated reality, with some new faces and many similar shots and very much the same theme of discovering (or in this case, rediscovering) one's power. It's at once familiar and fresh... in other words, sheer perfection.

(Spoilers for the first three films in the franchise below.)

It's hard to overstate the deep cultural impact of The Matrix. It redefined the sci-fi film genre and shaped an entire generation of fans—plus, it raked in $460 million worldwide, garnered multiple Oscars, and sent star Keanu Reeves' already healthy career into the Hollywood stratosphere. We still refer to taking the "red pill" when searching for a metaphor to represent choosing between an unsettling, life-changing truth or blissful ignorance. Who can forget Reeves' meme-worthy utterances ("Whoa!" or "I know kung fu") or Laurence Fishburne's fabulous sunglasses-wearing Morpheus? This is also the film that gave us "bullet time": a special effect—used for the rooftop scene where Neo (Reeves) dodges bullets fired by one of the Matrix's Agents—in which the shot progresses in slow motion while the camera appears to move at a normal speed through the scene.

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Amazon launches its first self-branded smart TVs and a new 4K Fire TV Stick

ArsTechnica - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 6:41am

Amazon on Thursday announced its first self-branded smart TVs and a new 4K streaming media player called the Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

The tech giant has previously partnered with Best Buy to sell various Toshiba and Insignia TVs that run Amazon’s Fire TV operating system. It has also launched TVs in India under its AmazonBasics brand.

Today, though, the company is unveiling two new TV lines of its own: a flagship Omni Series and a slightly more budget-friendly 4-Series. The announcement confirms a report from Insider last week.

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